Christopher Lee

This Sceptred Isle: Collection 3: The 20th Century
  • This Sceptred Isle: Collection 3: The 20th Century

  • All five volumes from the landmark BBC radio series This Sceptred Isle: The Twentieth Century

    Christopher Lee’s vivid, compelling history tells the story of Britain from the death of Queen Victoria to the dawning of a new millennium. This collection includes the original volumes 1-5:

    1901-1919: The Victorian era comes to an end, Suffragettes demand ‘Votes for Women’, the Titanic sinks and the Great War casts a long shadow.

    1919-1939: Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour PM, millions of workers take industrial action during the General Strike, Wall Street crashes and Hitler rises to power.

    1939-1959: The horrors of the Second World War and the onset of the Cold War, Indian independence, the founding of the NHS, the beginning of a new Elizabethan age and the Space Race.

    1959-1979: War in Vietnam, Profumo causes a scandal, the Beatles generate worldwide hysteria, Britain joins Europe and Thatcherism is born.

    1979-1999: The nation celebrates a fairytale royal wedding, Argentine troops invade the Falklands, disaster strikes at Chernobyl, the Berlin Wall falls – and as the year 2000 approaches, construction begins on London’s Millennium Dome.

    Narrated by Anna Massey, with additional readings by Robert Powell, this is the definitive radio account of one of the most exciting and fast-moving periods in the history of the United Kingdom.

    Published by Penguin Random House Ltd
    Licensed by BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
    ? 2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
    © 2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

    NB: Due to the age of these recordings, sound quality may vary

    Production credits
    Written by Christopher Lee
    Narrated by Anna Massey, with additional readings by Robert Powell
    Produced by Pete Atkin

    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30 August-31 December 1999

Christopher Lee (born 1941) is a British writer, historian and broadcaster, best known for writing the radio documentary series This Sceptred Isle for the BBC read by Anna Massey and directed by Pete Atkin. Lee's career began after expulsion from school and running away to sea in an old tramp steamer built for the duration of World War II. In his Twenties he re-started education reading history at London University. He later joined the BBC as a defence and foreign affairs correspondent and was posted to Moscow and the Middle East. Leaving his career in journalism for academia, Lee was the first Quatercentenary Fellow in Contemporary History and Gomes Lecturer in Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He went on to research the history of ideas at Birkbeck College in the University of London. Lee is the originator and writer of the BBC Radio 4 trilogy This Sceptred Isle, which recounts the history of Britain from the Romans to the death of Queen Victoria, the 20th century and the British Empire. His recent books include the three accompanying volumes of This Sceptred Isle. In 2003 was published 1603, the history of the death of Elizabeth I and the arrival of the Stuarts. In 2005, Nelson and Napoleon described the events that led to the Battle of Trafalgar and also in the same year he published the autobiographic Eight Bells and Top Masts the story of his time as a deck boy and his circumnavigation of the globe and the Bath Detective thriller trilogy. In 2006, he gave a "Platform" talk on history writing and teaching at the National Theatre as a prelude to Alan Bennett's play The History Boys and a new stage play set in the London of 1912. His study of the British monarchy and its future was published in spring 2014 and his book on Royal Ceremony and Regalia is to be published early 2015. In 2011 he published a single-volume abridgment of Winston Churchill's four-volume A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He is currently writing an authorised biography of Lord Carrington and the history of the Viceroys of India, with illustrations by his wife. He is also the writer of more than 100 Radio 4 plays and series including, The House for Timothy West, Julian Glover and Isla Blair, Colvil & Soames for Christopher Benjamin and Amanda Redman, Our Brave Boys for Martin Jarvis and Fiona Shaw and the Los Angeles production of his The Trial of Walter Raleigh which Rosalind Ayres produced with Michael York in the title role. His play, "A Pattern in Shrouds" was broadcast on Radio 4 in the summer of 2009 and deals with the consequences of the assassination of the Queen's uncle, Lord Mountbatten in 1979. In 2013 the BBC ran his play Air Force One that questioned the events during the 90 minutes between the assassination of President Kennedy and swearing in of Lyndon B Johnson aboard the presidential plane. In December 2014 Lee was commissioned as the Climate Change Analyst of the Fort Foundation examination of Climate Change and Global Warming data in preparation for the 2015 Paris Conference. Through the Fort Foundation and encouraged by its founder, Ted Fort, he was linked also as an observer to Climate Change work initiated by projects made possible by the work of a team led by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. Lee's direct interest in the global tapestry is the migration of masses due to global warming and the security consequences and has completed a study for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. His next major project is on the constitutional future of the British Royal Family to go alongside his book, Monarchy, The Past, The Present, The Future...?

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